"I cannot stand hearing him laughing."
Translation:Jag orkar inte höra honom skratta.
"modality" in linguistics is anything that can communicate intention and belief about something someone says. So a "modal verb" is a verb that does that.
For instance, let's take the sentence "I eat". That's just a straight-forward fact. But if you add a modal verb, the meaning changes:
- I eat
- I will eat
- I must eat
- I can eat
- I should eat
- ... and so on
These all make predictions and state which intention or belief you have about the eating.
Standard English has a pretty short list of modals: can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, would. Swedish has a more extensive system, though.